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Synthetic Biology in Cambridge

Explore genome editing and society with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Genome Hacking Retreat, 12-17 March 2017

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (KIT-ITAS) invites invites biologists, computer and hardware engineers, lawyers, social scientists, artists and designers to a week-long retreat discussing the consequences of a democratized and decentralised use of genome editing in the near future.

The SynBio SRI supported the UK's first biohackathon this year, which attracted a wide range of participants to Cambridge to explore hacking and making approaches to biological engineering. KIT-ITAS is now inviting young scientists from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and law to a one week retreat (Klausurwoche) at the UnternehmerTUM, Munich.

They aim to explore and discuss what could be the consequences of a democratized and decentralised use of genome editing in the near future – involving scenario building approaches and simulation games. Presentations from participants and invited experts will help to develop critical questions and provide crucial background knowledge.

Aims of the workshop

The enormous progress in recent years of DNA sequencing and the increasing knowledge on genetic elements raises hopes that these insights will become medically and industrially exploitable. The recently developed CRISPR-Cas gene-editing technology allows for the fast, cheap and easily applicable processing of genomic DNA in cells and organisms.

There are ethical and legal questions of who may be entitled to use genome editing, which ways of using this technology will be viewed as legitimate, and according to which criteria policy decisions will be made.

This workshop offers an interesting opportunity to explore societal consequences of genome editing and responsible research and innovation in an international and interdisciplinary setting.

For more information and to submit your abstract by 15th December 2016, see the event website here.